Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture (AJAC)

By | February 26, 2015

Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture (AJAC) – The AJAC Project reinforces Appeals’ quasi-judicial approach to the way it handles cases, with the goal of enhancing internal and external customer perceptions of a fair, impartial and independent Office of Appeals. AJAC policy changes include:


Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture (AJAC)

  • AJAC clarifies the distinction between the role of Compliance and Appeals;
  • AJAC emphasizes a quasi-judicial approach so that Appeals hearing officers can focus on their core mission, fair and impartial decision making free from influence;
  • Appeals hearing officers will focus on their unique and highly specialized role of administrative dispute resolution;
  • Appeals should receive cases from Compliance that are fully developed and well documented;
  • Appeals will not raise new issues or reopen issues on which the taxpayer and Compliance reached an agreement during the examination except instances involving fraud, malfeasance of a material fact;
  • Taxpayers must fully address issues with Compliance and should only come to Appeals when they have reached an impasse;
  • Appeals will forward new issues, information or evidence submitted by the taxpayer to the originating function for consideration; and
  • Appeals will attempt to settle a case on factual hazards when the case submitted by Compliance is not fully developed and the taxpayer has presented no new information or evidence.


What is Early Referral?

Early Referral – One of the Alternative Dispute Resolution options, Early Referral is available to taxpayers whose returns are under the jurisdiction of Examination or Collection and who request a transfer of a developed but unagreed issue to Appeals while the other issues in the case continue to be developed by Examination or Collection. Early Referral can also be requested with respect to issues regarding an involuntary change in accounting, employment tax, employee plans, and exempt organizations. Regular Appeals procedures apply, including taxpayer conferences.


What is IRS Fast Track Settlement?

Fast Track Settlement – One of the Alternative Dispute Resolution options, Fast Track Settlement is designed to help the IRS operating divisions and taxpayers expeditiously resolve disputes while their cases are still in the examination or collection process. Appeals resources are used to resolve the dispute generally before the 30-day letter is issued. Fast Track Settlement may be available for factual and legal cases, including listed transactions, Compliance- and Appeals-coordinated issues, and issues that require consideration of the hazards of litigation.


What is IRS Mediation?

Mediation – One of the Alternative Dispute Resolution options, Mediation is an informal, confidential, and flexible dispute resolution process in which an Appeals officer trained in mediation techniques serves as an impartial third party facilitating negotiations between the disputing parties.


Appealing Decisions

CDP Revised Procedures – With the Collection Due Process revised procedures, Appeals will:

  • Ask Compliance to verify a CIS, if needed;
  • Ask Compliance to make the initial decision for all offers submitted during a CDP proceeding;
  • Return the offer to Compliance for final decision if CDP is withdrawn; and
  • Accept as verified any financial statement Compliance reviewed and is fewer than 12 months old

OIC Revised Procedures – With the Offer in Compromise revised procedures, Appeals will:

  • Identify the disputed issues;
  • Ask the taxpayer to substantiate his claim;
  • Identify certain compliance issues that must be remedied;
  • Refer new information to Compliance for review, if needed; and
  • Appeals will sustain a rejection only under the same basis for which the offer was rejected.